Another week has been and gone, and with it, the third March Qualifier Cup in the ESL Go4Paladins Europe series played on Thursday March 16th. With only one more week of open qualifier play left this month the battle for a Top 8 placement in the Standings and with it an invitation to the €500 March Monthly Finals has begun to raise the temperature from a simmer to a rolling boil, and there’s more than a hint of upset in the air.
Once again, this Go4Paladins Europe Cup featured a Round of 64 Bracket, with teams competing for their share of Go4 Points whilst unlocking the maximum prize pool of €400 this week in in cash and in-game prizes!
Click Here for a link to the Week 3 Bracket.
Notably this week Burrito Esports, the Paladins Invitational Champions from HRX 2017 and the team tied for 1st place following the Week 2 Standings, did not participate in the competition this week; their absence opened up the second seed position in this Cup to Interlopers, and with that overall shift in seeding we saw a whole host of new matchups and possibilities occur.
The initial rounds passed swiftly, matchups going at this point as the standings may predict. Little contention continued even into the Quarterfinals; 2:0 sweeps were seen almost across the board with the exception of Pom Poms vs Team Dvij which culminated in a 2:1 victory to Pom Poms in Game 3 on Ice Mines.
Pom Poms proceeded to advance to face District 69 in the Semifinals, however they were swiftly dispatched to the Bronze Match in a 2:0 defeat by District 69, the team currently at the forefront of the European online competitive Paladins scene with a 6W-0L track record in the Spring Masters LAN Qualifiers and the favourites to win in this week’s Go4Paladins Cup.
On the other side of the bracket in the other set of Semifinals the pathway was anything but easy as Interlopers faced off against Flash Point Paladins in a gruelling three game series where both teams’ ability to out-draft and counter-draft their opponents had a phenomenal impact on the outcome of the games.
The set kicked off on Jaguar Falls and Flash Point with their Point Hold composition featuring double Frontline, double Support and Drogoz were able to take full control of both the point capture and payload push. Interlopers found themselves without a leg to stand on in this game’s draft with no big sources of AoE damage to break up the tight-knit clumps of Flash Point’s defences, and a peculiar last pick Buck which left their lineup relying solely on Sha Lin as their shield-killer and source of ranged poke damage. Only able to hold once on defence, Interlopers fell in Game 1 to Flash Point in a 4-1 scoreline.
Games 2 & 3 saw a shift in the power dynamic however. In fact, this game game was surging with it; Spunkki’s electrifying Grohk play came alive towards lategame on Frog Isle, charging Interlopers to victory with disruptive Shock Pulses, consistent damage and Cauterize application, and clutch Tempest utilisation to keep momentum in Interlopers’ favour.
Whilst Interlopers were the team to advance to the Finals this week, and Flash Point Paladins found themselves in the Bronze Match (which they took over Pom Poms 3:0), Flash Point Paladins on the back of consistent performance and incremental improvement have cemented themselves as a team to watch heavily in the European region.
At long last we found ourselves at the finals, but this time a new challenger had approached! The familiar matchup of Burrito Esports vs District 69 lacking, Interlopers took to the stage with a roster adjustment; their captain Spunkki unable to participate, Bonkar, a member of the primary roster of Burrito Esports stepped in as a substitute player just as they’d done a few months earlier during Hi-Rez Expo, and once again to impressive results.
The series began on Jaguar Falls and Interlopers who had previously lost their footing on this map in the Semifinals completely swept aside their top-seed opponents with a full on fortress composition of Makoa, Barik, Ruckus, Ying, and Drogoz. With their deployable nightmare setup, cycling shields, and with District 69’s lack of point-break potential notably emphasised by early Buck prioritisation, it was a very good start for the underdog team with a 4-o victory.
Their luck and fortune left as quickly as it came however; District 69 answered back with a 4-0 on Serpent Beach, and another on Frog Isle on which they performed like clockwork to utilise Makoa’s Pluck Legendary in combination with Torvald’s Field Study Legendary to provide over 2000 damage pre-mitigation following a successful Dredge Anchor in just two cannonballs! With near-unavoidable kill potential due to the subsequent lockdown of Torvald’s Runic Blast, District 69 demonstrated unparalleled coordination and game knowledge alongside their perfect execution.
Poised to take it all, Map 4 took us on a visit to the rarely played Fish Market map, and as with Week 2 of the ESL Go4Paladins competition District 69 drafted aggressive Frontline and Flank pressure to allow their Steady Aim Kinessa to completely dismantle Interlopers in the earlygame for a 2-0 lead, Bugzy crossing over 50,000 damage in under 5 minutes of play on the bounty hunter herself. However, Interlopers were able to adjust their prioritisation accordingly and buy themselves some breathing room with a successful defence following the game’s second capture, then proceeding to equalise with stunning momentum to a 3-3 tie in an overtime payload push. Back in the Game, Interlopers were able to clutch victory and a way back into this series on the back of Skillganon’s precise accuracy with Fusillade Drogoz, and Unbelivable’s intense zoning of D69’s Kinessa and Mal’Damba towards the end of the final fight preventing stabilisation and keeping capture control.
With their Map 4 comeback, Interlopers had event the field and it was Frozen Guard that was selected as the map to decide the series, and this week’s Cup as a whole. District 69 appeared to hold the advantage throughout the Champion Draft until the end, where a last-pick Pip from Interlopers, a champion rarely seen in the European competitive scene completely turned the tides. Interlopers’ Unbelivable, a player with a monstrous reputation for this champion was able to utilise Explosive Flask’s slow and bonus damage from their Catalyst Legendary to shut down any and all flank attempts from District 69’s Buck, and Evil Mojo to fully control the pace of the game. District 69 found themselves out-drafted, outplayed, and Interlopers were able to snowball to a 4-0 victory on Frozen Guard, and the first place position in the ESL Go4Paladins Cup #3!
Your March Week 3 Standings are as follows:
- District 69 – 250 points
- Burrito Esports – 175 points
- Interlopers – 165 points
- Flash Point Paladins – 95 points
- B@LTIKA 5 – 85 points
- Team Dvij – 75 points
- WASD Paladins – 60 points
- Pom Poms – 55 points
A full list of the standings can be found here.
The ESL Go4Paladins Europe Cup series is a repeating monthly circuit of Qualifier Cups every Thursday, concluding in a Monthly Finals on the last Thursday of each month with the top 8 teams by cumulative points from the month in question facing off for a guaranteed prize pool of €500! Visit esl.gg/PaladinsESL for information on how to sign up, upcoming cups for both the EU and NA regions, and all future ESL Paladins announcements!